Hover.com (Tucows.com) PDF Print E-mail

Hover.com (Tucows.com) fees put them in the same range as GoDaddy. So if you’re looking for domain registration at reasonable prices, you can consider Tucows, if you don’t like GoDaddy.

However, you would have to sign up from their affiliate sites but on the plus side, Tucows offer other Internet services such as billing applications, mobile phone services and mobile content networks.

Hower.com - Tucows

Hover.com is a nifty little domain registrar I heard about on one of Leo Laporte’s podcasts. This company is actually run by Tucows Inc. – a rather well known Internet establishment, famous for its software download portal, and its recent foray into the mobile world with Ting.com. Hover strives to simplify domain name and email address management without dumbing it down to the point that the user loses control. In addition, Hover goes to great lengths in providing its customers with first class telephone and online support.

The Good

Fast and easy signup. True to Hover’s credo, the signup process was a frictionless experience. They make a point out of not upselling their other products and services. You only get what you ask for, and in this case that’s a good thing. There’s a fine line between apropos upselling and a downright bombardment of useless offers.

Sadly, Go Daddy falls right into the latter category. Even though these schemes allow for the occasional lightning deal, the customer is burdened with diligently reading the fine print before clicking “Next”. More often than not, customers are left behind somewhat distraught, and uncertain of their purchase.

Easy management interface. As stated above, administration of domain names and e-mail addresses is multitudes more convenient than some of the competition (I won’t harp on Go Daddy any further).

Customer service. While I haven’t required Hover’s telephone support services so far, I can vouch for their online support portal. The turnaround for e-mail based inquiries is one business day or less. They also follow up your request with care if required.

Transfer pricing at just $10. Customers who move over their domain get a great deal: one year over the existing renewal date for just 10 USD. You can optionally let Hover take care of all the transfer hassle free of charge.

The Bad

Regular pricing is slightly more expensive at $15 per year, per domain. Not quite the bargain when competing registrars come in at a lower price point, e.g. Go Daddy charges $13 for the first year (and $15 for subsequent renewals).

Mailbox pricing at $20 per e-mail address, per year. One sore point with Hover is the rather steep e-mail pricing. Even if all you’re doing is forward to another address, the same pricing structure is upheld. Go Daddy throws in e-mail for mere pennies. Put into perspective, on the other hand, one might argue that $1.67/month/mailbox is hardly a heist. It just depends on how many of them you intend to own, I guess.

No hosting. This is by no means a criticism; I was just dismayed to realize their great service does not extend to web hosting. Hover directs its customers to a select group of specialized hosting companies like SquareSpace and MediaTemple instead.

Hover.com is the retail division of Tucows Inc., the third largest ICANN-accredited registrar and largest publicly traded domain name registrar in the world. Operating atop the reliable, robust OpenSRS platform and led by general manager Ross Rader, a man reputable for being a compassionate perfectionist, Hover is definitely a force in the industry to be reckoned with. Although the service only launched in 2009, it's not necessarily correct to refer to it as a "new kid on the block" in the domain name and email business, as Hover is actually the result of the successful combination of three very successful companies.

Tucows has been around since 1994, when it got its start offering software downloads and reviews. Domain Direct, Tucows' first domain name registration service, launched in 1997. In 1999, Tucows became ICANN-accredited and was one of the first registrars to do so. Over 10,000 service providers globally sell domains managed by Tucows via OpenSRS, Tucows' advanced wholesale reseller platform. Presently, Tucows has over ten million - 10,000,000 - domain names under management.

In 2006, NetIdentity was acquired by Tucows and in 2007, so was It's Your Domain (IYD). These two services, as well as Tucows' own Domain Direct, were all successful. All under one roof, the task at hand became their successful amalgamation and it is from this that Hover was born. Hover is the result of the successful merging of Domain Direct, NetIdentity, and It's Your Domain into one unit. In 2009, Hover went live.

Unlike many other domain name registration services, Hover tries hard to keep things simple while providing an intuitive, painless user experience. Additionally, instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, Hover instead specializes in domain names and custom, personalized e-mail. The result of this is that there are no confusing add-ons or potentially misleading service offerings with Hover. Also, there are no hidden fees so an individual can rest assured that the price seen is the price paid, short of a sale or other form of discount. Customer service and pain-free usability are Hover's top priorities.

The Hover experience revolves around the customer. When a customer calls customer service, a person answers the phone, not a recording. Whoever answers the phone can help without needing to ask somebody else for permission. Additionally, regardless of what one calls about, whoever answers the phone can provide assistance. All of Hover's customer service staff have the same training and can handle everything from billing to technical issues. Customers can rest assured that they won't have to spend time on hold and that they won't have to endure being transferred from one department to another when they call or e-mail customer service.

Hover prides itself in having a very clean, advertisement free user interface. Unlike some other services that bombard customers with a constant slew of promotional offerings, Hover doesn't try to push services on its customers. The minimalistic, advertisement-free interface of Hover makes it easy for customers to find what they need. Everything that a customer might need to do to manage their domains and/or personalized, custom email is easy to find. This is made possible by Hover giving a customer everything that customers actually need and nothing that they don't.

Hover's domain name registration process is quick and easy. Like with other domain registration services, one need only type in the name they desire to see if its available and proceed to purchase it. Unlike many other registrars, Hover's checkout process is fast, taking only a few seconds to a minute at most for most people. Management of one's new domain name, be it setting name servers, WHOIS data, turning off or on Private Registration, or making advanced DNS settings, is easy.

The NetIdentity component of Hover brought over 40,000 surname domain names into the equation. This makes it possible for Hover to offer first @ last. com style email addresses for everyone with a given last name since Hover owns the surname domains. For example, a Sylvia Gonzales could get sylvia @ gonzales. com,.net,.org, etc., depending on which names Hover had available. George Gonzales could get george @ gonzales. com. When purchasing a first / last surname e-mail address from Hover, one pays for the e-mail address, but Hover owns the domain. This makes it easier for people to get the perfect e-mail address for their identity.

Whether transferring in or transferring out of Hover, the process is as painless as possible. Hover does everything it can to make the transition in or even out of its service as easy as possible for incoming and outgoing customers alike. Hover doesn't believe that a business should hold one's domains hostage.

Admittedly, Hover had a few bumps to overcome when it launched. Most new services do. However, if Hover continues to offer great products for affordable prices and treat customers like human beings and actually provide them service when they contact customer service, Hover and Tucows Inc. may well eventually dominate the domain name registration scene.